Good red knot news from New Jersey


This video from the USA says about itself:

Staff writer Abigail Tucker recounts the scene of a beach littered with horseshoe crabs and a sky filled with red knots. Read more here.

From the Conserve Wildlife Blog in New Jersey, USA:

19,077 Red Knots Counted – The Most Seen in New Jersey in a Decade

May 25th, 2015

An Update on the 2015 Delaware Bay Shorebird Project

By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC

Despite the threatening forecast of a cold drizzle and strong winds, our team persevered to complete the first bay-wide count of this season. On the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay, we counted 19,077 red knots – the most seen in the state in a decade. With Delaware’s shorebird team recording 2,000 knots along their entire shoreline, the total knot count of 21,077 is not far from the 24,000 seasonal maximum of the last three years.

This is good news in either of two completely different ways. One explanation is that perhaps most of the knots have already come to the bay. If so, they are in good time to make weight and are getting close to an on-time departure for the Arctic. The alternative is that even more will arrive and we will exceed our counts of the recent past. Good weights promise good Arctic production; more knots offer new hope.

The numbers of ruddy turnstones (12,295) and semipalmated sandpipers (56,788) are also close to the seasonal maxima counts of the recent past, so they too may soon brave the long flight to their Arctic homes. Our cannon-net catches of turnstones, sanderlings and knots point to weights building quickly.

But the real shorebird wonderland of the bay continues to be Egg Island. Few people see this this vast intertidal marsh, and fewer still appreciate its wonder. Egg Island – actually a peninsula – juts miles out into the bay, nearly to the shipping channel. The marsh cradles one of the most diverse bird faunas of the mid-Atlantic. All along its mucky eastern flank, short-billed dowitchers, dunlin, semipalmated sandpipers, black-bellied plovers, and semipalmated plovers comb the eroded banks for crab eggs drifting in the water column from better crab breeding sites. The crabs themselves attempt to breed in the overhanging edges of the spartina marsh, a lost cause; however, because the muck lacks oxygen and the eggs cannot develop. This is bad for crabs but good for shorebirds because most of the eggs end up on the sod banks, easy prey for shorebirds.

But this week, the wonders of Egg Island overwhelmed us. Our team – Humphrey Sitters, Phillipa Sitters and this blog’s author – wove along the shallow shoreline in our intrepid 17-ft Carolina skiff, counting thousands of shorebirds – 8,226 knots, 4,125 ruddy turnstones, 3,000 sanderlings, and 21,000 semipalmated sandpipers. The flocks swirled around the peninsula’s sandy western shore, alighting, then flying, and then alighting again. It was a shorebird dance that was a wonderful sight for increasingly tired-out shorebird scientists.

Michael Brown killed, ‘no federal prosecution’


This video from New Jersey in the USA says about itself:

Jerame Reid Shooting – Police SHOOT MAN WITH HANDS UP

21 January 2015

JERAME REID SHOOTING Dash cam footage released by the Bridgeton Police Department Tuesday shows Jerame Reid being shot and killed as he exited a car pulled over by Bridgeton police officers, an incident that has sparked some Ferguson-esque backlash against the police departme[nt].

Video shows black man shot dead by officer as he steps out of car with hands raised: here. See also here.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Report: No federal charges against Ferguson, Missouri cop who killed Michael Brown

22 January 2015

The US Justice Department will not bring federal civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer responsible for the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.

The Times reported, “The investigation by the FBI, which is complete, found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer,” based on the claims of unnamed officials.

The Times added, “The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision,” probably “in the next month or two.” The decision, according to the report, would “close the politically charged case.”

The report in the Times, a semi-official outlet of the American state, all but constitutes an official statement by the White House that it is not pursuing charges against Wilson. …

Throughout the grand jury proceedings that concluded in November, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch worked to ensure that no charges would be filed, painting Brown as the aggressor and coddling Wilson, who was invited to testify for four hours before other witnesses were heard. Last month, McCulloch publicly admitted that he knowingly used perjured testimony in the grand jury proceedings, after journalists identified one of the witnesses as a mentally disturbed racist with a history of providing false testimony.

“The fact that the original hearing was a fraud makes the dropping of federal charges against Wilson all the more egregious,” said John Burton, a police misconduct lawyer in Los Angeles County.

“The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from excessive force—such as being shot—during an arrest.” said Burton. “The civil rights division of the Justice Department theoretically exists to ensure that state and local authorities do not violate the civil rights of citizens. Michael Brown’s civil rights were clearly violated.”

Officers responsible for the 1992 beating of Rodney King, who were initially acquitted by a jury, were found guilty of violating King’s civil rights by using excessive force in his arrest. In that case, the prosecutors were not required to prove that racial motives played a role in the officers’ actions.

The New York Times piece is itself a journalistic travesty, treating the sham grand jury proceeding as entirely legitimate, and inferring from its verdict that Wilson’s killing of Brown was justified. It quotes the self-serving and unbelievable testimony of Wilson, but not that of any witnesses who contradicted his version of events. It qualifies the fact that witnesses said Brown had his hands up by saying that “some recanted their stories,” without noting the perjured character of the key witness who supported Wilson.

During the grand jury proceeding against Wilson, the Times played a filthy role in polluting public opinion by uncritically printing leaks from the secret grand jury proceeding that portrayed Wilson in a favorable light, including excerpts from Wilson’s own testimony.

Michael Brown’s family considers suing Darren Wilson in absence of charges. Lawyer says possibility is ‘always on the table’ after reports that officer who shot teenager won’t face federal civil rights charges: here.

No free speech for students on Martin Luther King Day in the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Morristown pastor calls for free speech in Morris schools

19 January 2015

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. of Bethel AME Church in Morristown tells an MLK Day audience that Morris schools have been insensitive to concerns of minority students.

From the Morristown Patch in New Jersey, USA:

Morris Students Censored on Ferguson Issue, Morristown Pastor Says

Clergy told crowd at Martin Luther King Day ceremony students ‘trembled,’ report says.

By Jason Koestenblatt (Patch Staff)

January 20, 2015 at 10:54am

At an event designed to highlight the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one Morristown pastor claimed students in several Morris County school districts were unable to speak about the issues in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York from 2014.

According to morristowngreen.com, Pastor Sidney Williams of Bethel AME Church in Morristown, told a group of guests at the Morristown Interfaith Breakfast Monday morning students from Parsippany, Randolph, and Morris school districts were not allowed to discuss the shooting death of Michael Brown and choking death of Eric Garner, both at the hands of police officers, with teacher[s] or while in school.

“They were told what to think and how to respond, and they trembled, and they cried, and they are afraid,” Williams said during his speech at the event, which can be seen in the video [above].

Williams led the group in prayer at the 30th annual event, the report said.

Morris School District board of education president Leonard Posey told the publication that was the first he had heard of the allegation.

November birds in North America


This video from the USA is called New Jersey Birds, November 2011, in HD.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

November Offers Plenty of Birds. Here’s Where to Look

For much of North America, the rush of confusing fall warblers has passed—but there’s still plenty of great bird watching to be done in November. Chances are, a weedy field near you is hosting throngs of beautiful sparrows; ponds are coming alive with migrating waterfowl; mudflats are like magnets for shorebirds; and raptors are passing overhead. Check out our full set of fall tips.

African American poet and activist Amiri Baraka dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

8 Nov 2012

Poet E. Ethelbert Miller introduces Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) as one of the most prolific writers of the century in this 1998 edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life.

They talk about the writers that influenced his work: Charlie Olson, the Black Mountain Group, Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg.

Baraka reads his first published poem, “Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note.” A discussion on the link between his poetry and music precedes a reading of a section of the poem “In the Tradition,” which touches on the heritage of African-American music.

The conversation concludes with Baraka‘s greatest hope for American poetry — that the great poets will find their voices in a collective way in order to discover literature that speaks against the rules.

From National Public Radio in the USA:

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

by January 09, 2014 4:38 PM

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka’s career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn’t shy away from social criticism and politics.

“Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was,” reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

One of Baraka’s crowning achievements stands as the cataloguing of black culture and history in Blues People, “a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music,” as Eugene Holley, Jr., wrote for NPR last year.

The book was published in 1963. “In the 50 years since, it has never been out of print,” Holley wrote.

“The book was originally titled Blues: Black and White,” Baraka told Holley. “But I changed it because I wanted to focus on the people that created the blues. And that was the real intent of that title: I wanted to focus on them — us — the creators of the blues, which is still, I think, the predominate music under all American music. It cannot be dismissed, even though you might give it to some pop singer, they change it around. But it will come out. It will be heard.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports: “Baraka led the Black Arts Movement, an aesthetic sibling to the Black Panthers. Although the movement was fractious and short-lived, it involved significant authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Eldridge Cleaver, Gil-Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Ishmael Reed and Quincy Troupe.”

A more complete look at Baraka’s life and career is forthcoming, from NPR’s Neda Ulaby.

See also here.

11th Annual World Poetry Festival in Venezuela Pays Homage to Amiri Baraka: here.

Snowy owl vs. peregrine falcon


This video from the USA says about itself:

10 Dec 2013

Remarkable footage of two Peregrine Falcons harrying Snowy Owls on a beach in New Jersey, December 2013. Filmed and narrated by Tom Johnson.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA writes:

Snowy Owl vs. Peregrine Falcons

Snowy Owls are flooding into the Lower 48 this winter. But what happens when one raptor takes up residence on another raptor’s turf? Cornell alum Tom Johnson (2010) captured this remarkable footage of Peregrine Falcons harrying Snowy Owls on a New Jersey beach. The birds didn’t injure each other, but the aggravation of the falcons and the catlike intensity of the owls are palpable. … (And see more of Tom’s work via Flickr and Vimeo.)

Find Your Snowy: This winter could be your best-ever chance to see “Harry Potter‘s owl.” Our eBird team breaks down causes and patterns of this year’s irruption—and this live sightings map can help you locate them. If you do find an owl, please remember to keep a respectful distance to avoid disturbing these rare visitors.

Snowy owl on ship: here.

For many birdwatchers the Peregrine is one of those great ‘start of the year birds’, an added bonus to a New Year outing to coastal marshes or inland wetlands, where this large and powerful falcon may be seen to strike at waders and smaller wildfowl. For others the Peregrine is a bird of the open uplands, breeding where there are suitable rocky outcrops, or a master of our western sea cliffs, where Puffin and Guillemot feature alongside Feral Pigeon as prey. Regardless of the manner in which the Peregrine enters your birdwatching realm, there is no doubting its place as a totemic species: here.

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